Keats's Middle Name

The life of John Keats the man: his family, his friends, and his contemporaries.

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Keats's Middle Name

Postby BrokenLyre » Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:39 am

Does anybody know John Keats's middle name? What authoritative source can I go to to find out? I have never seen his middle name anywhere - but I could have missed it among my books. I have not seen it on the web either.

Just interesting ... George Keats's son "John" was born in 1827 and died in 1927 at age 90. Just another ironic fact of poet John's life - his own nephew, carrying his name, outlived him by 65 years!
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Re: Keats's Middle Name

Postby Saturn » Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:00 am

Good question - I suppose he didn't have one; I certainly can never remember seeing one in any book aboout Keats. He got along just fine without one.
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Re: Keats's Middle Name

Postby Malia » Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:58 pm

Broken Lyre, Keats's middle name was Zeus, actually--after Keats's father's favorite horse. This was one more reason Keats disliked his name. Of course, it was easier for him to comment on how boring the name John was, rather than comment on the reason why he shared his middle name with that of a horse (and a god). It was just another one of those very private areas of his life that haunted him--and I'm sure influenced his poetry in one way or another.
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Re: Keats's Middle Name

Postby Malia » Fri Jul 30, 2010 5:00 pm

Ok. Ok. If anyone even begins to take my above comment seriously, I'd be surprised--of course I'm joking :) I don't think he had a middle name. I tend to wonder how common middle names were for middle-class and lower-class folks back in his day? I don't think his siblings had middle names, either.
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Re: Keats's Middle Name

Postby BrokenLyre » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:34 am

Thanks for responding, all. I'm glad that you sort of confirmed my idea that he had no middle name. Just curious that's all. (This week I am on vacation - agreeing with your advice to chill) so I have time to ask such questions. If I come across a middle name, I'll let you all know :)
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Re: Keats's Middle Name

Postby Cybele » Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:53 pm

Malia wrote:Broken Lyre, Keats's middle name was Zeus, actually--after Keats's father's favorite horse. This was one more reason Keats disliked his name. Of course, it was easier for him to comment on how boring the name John was, rather than comment on the reason why he shared his middle name with that of a horse (and a god). It was just another one of those very private areas of his life that haunted him--and I'm sure influenced his poetry in one way or another.


No way, Malia! I've never heard this before. How funny! I'd always thought he didn't have a middle name. Where did you learn this? I want to hear more.

We came very close to giving our oldest daughter the middle name of "Hypatia" -- my husband so wanted a math whiz! She now frequently thanks us for her far more pedestrian middle name. (And she's not at all bad at math, either! :) )
Last edited by Cybele on Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Keats's Middle Name

Postby Cybele » Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:58 pm

Malia wrote:Ok. Ok. If anyone even begins to take my above comment seriously, I'd be surprised--of course I'm joking :) I don't think he had a middle name. I tend to wonder how common middle names were for middle-class and lower-class folks back in his day? I don't think his siblings had middle names, either.


Malia -- You certainly got me on that one!! (BTW, "Gullible" is *my* middle name. :lol: :lol: :lol: )

I'm certainly relieved to learn this!

(But didn't the late Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter, name his daughter after his favorite crocodile?)
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Re: Keats's Middle Name

Postby Raphael » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:15 am

Malia... :roll: I think John would think you a rascal to give him such a funny middle name. No, he didn't have a middle name. I don't think class had anything to do with it- some of his middle class friends had middle names.But if you were going to give him a middle name what would it be?
I think I'll give him Edmund- he liked that name. John Edmund Keats. :D

P.S- I know he didn't like his name (John) that much but I like it. I also like Junkets- it's kind of cute.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: Keats's Middle Name

Postby BrokenLyre » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:03 am

I was just reading in one of my biographies on Keats where he stated that he liked 'Edmund.' You are correct Raphael.
Good work - but I still wonder. Was it because he liked 'Edmund Spencer'? I believe that was behind his choice....hmmm
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Re: Keats's Middle Name

Postby Raphael » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:44 am

I think it was the reason yes Broken Lyre. In a letter to Georgiana, Jan 1820 he wrote:

"If you should have a Boy do not christen him John, and persuade George not to let his partiality for me cone across.'Tis a bad name and goes against a Man. if my name had been Edmund I should have been more fortunate."

The note in the Scott edition of the letters says:

1. Advice Georgiana did not follow.
2. The name of Fanny Lindon's first child.

I find it very touching that George and Georgiana named their first son after John and that Fanny Brawne named her first son Edmund- a name she knew John liked- we know they read Spenser together, and he marked passages in an edition for her. So, even when Fanny had married someone else, and had his child, John must still have been in her heart to name her son after Edmund Spenser.It makes me wonder if John and Fanny had talked about having children of their own and even gone so far as to talk about names for any sons they might have.
John....you did not live to see-
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what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: Keats's Middle Name

Postby Ennis » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:59 am

Malia wrote:Broken Lyre, Keats's middle name was Zeus, actually--after Keats's father's favorite horse. This was one more reason Keats disliked his name. Of course, it was easier for him to comment on how boring the name John was, rather than comment on the reason why he shared his middle name with that of a horse (and a god). It was just another one of those very private areas of his life that haunted him--and I'm sure influenced his poetry in one way or another.

Ha! Ha! You had me going, Malia, for about a heartbeat! I wondered, for about a half a moment -- "In all my readings of Keats, how in the world did I ever miss THAT piece of info!!" [Too bad it's not 01st April!!]
To reiterate what has (probably) already been offered, Keats most likely had no middle name. I, too, have read lots about him, and never once is there any mention of any of the Keatses having middle names (and the Jennings's kids, as well).
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Re: Keats's Middle Name

Postby Cybele » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:44 am

Raphael wrote:I think it was the reason yes Broken Lyre. In a letter to Georgiana, Jan 1820 he wrote:

"If you should have a Boy do not christen him John, and persuade George not to let his partiality for me cone across.'Tis a bad name and goes against a Man. if my name had been Edmund I should have been more fortunate."

The note in the Scott edition of the letters says:

1. Advice Georgiana did not follow.
2. The name of Fanny Lindon's first child.

I find it very touching that George and Georgiana named their first son after John and that Fanny Brawne named her first son Edmund- a name she knew John liked- we know they read Spenser together, and he marked passages in an edition for her. So, even when Fanny had married someone else, and had his child, John must still have been in her heart to name her son after Edmund Spenser.It makes me wonder if John and Fanny had talked about having children of their own and even gone so far as to talk about names for any sons they might have.


When I read that Fanny named her little boy "Edmund" I assumed that that was because they had discussed names for their future children. Thinking about the young couple making plans for their future, just like young couples everywhere, made me smile and made them all the more real to my imagination.
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Re: Keats's Middle Name

Postby Maureen » Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:46 pm

We know John never had any money so I'm assuming he was too poor to be able to afford a middle name.... :wink: :D

More seriously, I've always taken it for granted that he didn't have one - I'm sure if he had, it would have surfaced somewhere.
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Re: Keats's Middle Name

Postby Raphael » Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:46 am

We know John never had any money so I'm assuming he was too poor to be able to afford a middle name.... :wink: :D


I wonder how many middle names Benjamin Haydon had after his loans from John. :lol:


More seriously, I've always taken it for granted that he didn't have one - I'm sure if he had, it would have surfaced somewhere.


I think so too- let's give him Edmund then! And he gets it for free.. :wink:
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what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: Keats's Middle Name

Postby jimfaster » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:56 am

It might be "Thomas" or "Frances Jennings".




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